Dominican priory, church and school
A brief description.
Warburg consisting of the Old Town (Altstadt) and the New Town (Neustadt) is
situated in eastern North Rhine-Westphalia on the river Diemel near the
three-state point shared by Hessen, Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia. It
is in Höxter district and Detmold region. Warburg is the midpoint in the
8th and 9th century. The Christianization of the Saxons
in the Diemel area.
1010, 1036. The name ‘Warburg’ was first mentioned in a document sometime
around 1010, although archaeological finds have established that there were
already people living in what is now Warburg by protohistoric times. The first
definite documentary mention came in 1036.
11th century. In the 11th century there was on the
Warburger Burgberg ("Castle Mountain") the "Wartburg", under whose protection
people came and settled. The castle was at first owned by Count Dodiko, whose
estate, according to documents, passed in 1020 to the Bishop of Paderborn when
the Count's only son met his end in an accident.
1021-1033. Eventually, sometime between 1021 and 1033, the Emperor further
granted to the bishop the Count's rights.
About 1180 the Old Town was granted town rights.
1228. The Warburg New Town was founded in 1228–1229 by Bernhard IV of Lippe,
Bishop of Paderborn, to bolster his political position in the Diemel area
against encroachment by the Bishop of Cologne. About 1239, the New Town had
been built into a complete town in its own right, and the townsfolk there had
full civil rights after the Dortmund and Marsberg models.
In 1260 the New Town was granted the right to build a town wall, not only
against armies from afar, but even – expressly – against the Old Town.
1264. In the New Town was built the church of Saint John the Baptist.
The Dominicans in Warburg
In 1281 Otto von Rietberg, Bishop of Paderborn, invited the Dominicans to come to Warburg.
On the vigil of the feast of John the Baptist (29 August) they moved into a bishop’s house
near the church in the 'Altstadt'. The General Chapter of the Dominicans on
Pentecost in Wien in 1282 recognized the priory in Warburg. It means
that the priory consists of 12 Dominicans with a prior Winkerus, vice-prior
Godefried and lector Konrad.
There were in Warburg four churches (parishes): church of Saint Andrew (Burg),
Blessed Virgin in vinea (Altstadt), John the Baptist in Neustadt and Saint
Peter on the Hüffert. The pastors of these churches were not glad with
the arrival of the Dominicans, who shortly should build a church with a
cemetery, and the revenues. Pope Alexander IV allowed the mendicant orders to
receive leg sieves for the embellishment of the church, paraments and books
(1261). On 12 January 1282 Pope Martin IV allowed everywhere to preach
and take confession even without the permission of the Bishop. Pope
Boniface VIII limited these rights (18 February 1300: bulle 'Super cathedram'.
When vicar Otto of the
parish of the Blessed Virgin in Vinea was died, the bishop of Paderborn
bestowed the Dominicans the church (20 June 1283). Bishop Otto von Rietberg
sold the ground around the church to prior Nikolaus and vicar-prior Buckhard
von Bïren for 50 mark. Both treaties were sealed on Thursday before
Sunday Laetare 284. (1, p. 10-12)
But there was directly hatred and
malice and competition when the Bishop removed the parishioners of the parish
of the Old town to the new church in the New town. Moreover the Dominicans
built a convent school, later the ‘Gymnasium Warburg'. (1,p.14-17)
In 1622 the town was captured by Christian the Younger of Brunswick, Bishop
of Halberstadt, who is sometimes called in German ‘der tolle Christian’ –
‘Christian the Mad’.
1628-1648. By 1628, the town was changing overlords and occupation armies
repeatedly as the war dragged on, ending up in Imperial hands by the time the
war ended in 1648.
On 31 July 1760, during the ‘Seven Years War’, Warburg was the scene of a
battle that now bears its name. Twenty-four thousand Prussian, Hanoverian,
Hessian and British troops fought under Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick and the
Crown Prince of Hesse-Kassel (or Hesse-Cassel) against a French army of 21,500
soldiers led by Lieutenant-General Le Chevalier du Muy and the Duke of
Broglie. The Prussians and their allies won, killing 8,000 French soldiers
while losing only 1,500 themselves, leaving them free to sack the town. A
tower on the Deisenberg recalls the Battle of Warburg. On 3 August 1802,
Prussian troops came into Warburg in anticipation of the decisions of German
From 1807 to 1813, in the Napoleonic Era, Warburg belonged to the Kingdom of
1810. After many years with all the troubles in the history of Warburg, the
Dominicans were suppressed by decree of King Jérôme Bonaparte in 1810 and by
the Prussian occupation.
1815. After the Congress of Vienna in 1815, Warburg was once again assigned to
Prussia. The next year, it became a district seat.
1824. The priory and School were closed in 1824. The capital was confiscated
by the state and the grounds were impropriated.
1825. The School was reopened as ‘King’s Pro-Gymnasium’.
End 19th century. The Dominicans returned to Warburg and built a
priory named 'Sankt-Maria-Himmelfahrt' (1906-1915) with a studium (1908) to
educate their young Dominicans.
In 1993 the priory and school were closed by the restructuring
of the German Dominican Province.
1996. The former Dominican priory was acquired by the Syriac Orthodox Church’s
bishopric of Germany, and is the see of the Syriac-Orthodox Archbishop (1997).
Now also it is used as Syriac Orthodox Priory of Saint Jaime of Sarug, and the
Syriac Orthodox centre in Westphalia
1. Der Marianer. Festschrift 700 Jahre Dominikaner in Warburg. Dr. M. Lohrum,
S.10-12. Heft 17. Warburg 1981.
Germany 1986.Postal card.
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